I need case painting tips

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeff Braddock, Aug 12, 2002.

  1. Jeff Braddock

    Jeff Braddock Second Unit

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    I'm in the process of painting my case and I want it to have the best look possible. I am painting it flat black and am considering putting a clear coat on it as well. Does anybody have any tips besides doing many thin coats rather than a couple of heavy ones? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Ben Menix

    Ben Menix Stunt Coordinator

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    Make sure you paint in an easily accessible, low or no wind environment (other than ventilation, of course). Get the parts that you are going to paint in a position that you can move around, rather than moving the pieces.
    Sell any pets before starting, or at least have someone else keep them. Or paint somewhere that they aren't. Cats hate paint...unless it is the gold paint on your tower case sitting on two sawhorses in your shop. Would have been cute if they hadn't walked on my Kawasaki afterwards. :>
    Use an airbrush if you can...it's easier to control the spray flow. If you can't use an airbrush, buy extra spray paint and spray the paint from further away, putting it on very thin.
    Make sure you remove any LEDs. If possible...sometime they can only be removed permanently.
    For gosh darn's sake, take the power supply out first! :>
    Take everything out. Do not make the mistake of thinking, "There's no way the paint could get in THERE."
    You probably already thought of most or all of this...but obviously somebody didn't at one time.:b
    Ben Menix
    [email protected]
     
  3. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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  4. Jeff Braddock

    Jeff Braddock Second Unit

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    unfortunatley, I don't have access to an airbrush. I am having to just use spray paint. I have considered putting a clearcoat on it to help protect it and give it a smoother feel. Anybody here ever done that? If so how did it turn out?
     
  5. Michael_Scott

    Michael_Scott Auditioning

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    Well It took me awhile to get my profile working again but now I can answer this.

    I just painted my front bezel and case this week. This is my second attempt at painting my case. The first attempt resulted in me spending 2 hours sanding the paint off my case to begin my second attempt. Here is what I learned.

    You should spend about 3/4 of the total time prepping the case and 1/4 of the time painting. This means:
    Remove the front bezel and case panels that you wish to paint. (do not paint with the case assembeled.

    Cover the back of the Bezel and the inner side of the metal panel with masking tape to prevent overspray.

    Do sand the surface of the case if it is already painted. I used a $30 orbital sander from home depot and the sand paper that came with it.

    Apply two coats of automotive primer (can be found at home depot or paint supply stores. Sand the primer smooth between coats because it dries rough. This will help to cover any imperfections in the case material and it gives the paint a stable base to adhere to. Many times if you skip this step the paint will eventually peal off (delaminate) the case. This happened to me the first time.

    Use Lysol or rubbing alcohol to clean the primered case of any fingerprints or dust left from sanding before putting your first coat of paint on. Make sure the outside temperature is above 70f and the humidity is below 70% or it will take forever to dry (or not at all). Make each pass slowly at about 12" from the surface and overlap each pass by half. It is okay to have lighter spots with less paint.
    Allow the first coat to dry for at least an hour. (it should be dry and not sticky to the touch. touch it in a less visibile area to test).

    For the second coat do the same as the first making sure that any lighter spots are filled in this time. Take your time and make sure you get it all. When you are done you should not see any of the original case color left. Let it dry another hour. Now inspect your work. Does it look good to you? If not put on a third coat for posterity.

    Once all of the paint has been applied and has dried you can use a clearcoat to protect it. (nice side effect is it stops fumes from stinking up the computer for the first few days while the paint still settles). I used clear polycarbonate aeresol spraypaint from home depot. (I bought everything I needed there). This stuff misted very fine (like hairspray) and I put on two very light coats of it. It takes slightly longer to dry than the paint. When you are done and the clearcoat is dry you can inspect your work and if you are happy, remove all of the masking tape and re-assemble the case.

    I was able to do my entire case, and the plastic front bezel in a weekend. You can do other stuff while the paint dries. I got a finish very much like an automobile when I was done. If you want a 100% custom paint look you can take one additional step.
    The clearcoat will dry with an orange peal type of texture that while being shiny is not mirror like. If you use some rubbing compound and buff the clearcoat (same way you would on a car) you can then wax the finish and buff it up to an automobile finish that will turn heads.

    I made a few mistakes during the process of painting (like a thumbprint in the second coat of paint. But a little sanding and a touch up coat before the next coat completely covered them. You can always sand your mistakes. Have fun.

    Mike
     
  6. Jeff Braddock

    Jeff Braddock Second Unit

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    how did the clear coat turn out? Did it help protect it much? I don't want it to be real shiny, just mainly for protection. Also, the paint dried kinda rough. Should I sand it with real high grit sandpaper or will the clear coat give a smooth finish?
     
  7. Brad_V

    Brad_V Second Unit

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    I painted mine with some leftover dark blue metallic car paint I had. Looks really nice. Might be a little rough to the touch, so yeah, you can wet sand it with some fine-grit sandpaper if you want. Talkin' 1000 grit and plenty of water. I don't think any protection coat is needed. It's a computer... it just sits there.
     
  8. Mike_G

    Mike_G Screenwriter

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  9. Jeff Braddock

    Jeff Braddock Second Unit

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    thanks for the links guys

    Brad,
    I realize it just sits there, but I don't want it getting scratched if anything bumps it. Also, I would like the finish to be nice and smooth to the touch if possible.
     
  10. Michael_Scott

    Michael_Scott Auditioning

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    The clearcoat is virtually indistiguishable (visibly) from the paints finish. It feels more silky to the touch though and the finish is not matte but it's not high gloss either. However it gives you the base to put rubbing compound and buff it if you want a mirror finish, which you could not do with paint alone.

    If the paint feels rough to the touch you should absolutely sand it. Don't worry about wet sanding, just make sure it is really dry paint and has had time to set. Then use fine grit sandpaper and something soft to put behind it (like a rag or sponge) and lightly go over the rough spots with a circular motion. Make sure you use a light touch. Don't worry about sanding too much because you are going to put one more coat on anyway. Once it is smooth clean it off with a rag or something lint free and a little lysol or rubbing alcohol. Then put your final coat of paint on and then the clear coat.
     
  11. Jeff Braddock

    Jeff Braddock Second Unit

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    well, i thought i prob. needed to sand it, but if a couple coats of clear coat would smooth it out, i will do that and save some time
     
  12. AaronNWilson

    AaronNWilson Second Unit

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    I did a paintjob on my plastic case, I probably wouldn't do it again but it was fun to try at least once. I painted my case ferrari red with enamel paint and the only thing I can recommend is many very light coats and paint it very slowly.
    There is many nice cases out there for under a 100 dollars, but if you wanna paint it, who am I to stop ya [​IMG].
     
  13. Brad_V

    Brad_V Second Unit

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    One thing to mention is the front of the drives and things. On mine, I wanted the whole thing blue, so I painted the floppy drive and the cd-rom and all that. Looked good. But then of course the floppy drive broke, and then I added a cd-rom drive, and I was too lazy to bother painting those, so then they were white against the blue everything else. So, the drives might look cool painted, but I'd avoid it.
     
  14. Jeff Braddock

    Jeff Braddock Second Unit

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    Aaron,
    I got an old comp at a yard sale so I wouldn't have any real money tied up in it if I botched the job [​IMG]
    Brad,
    I plan on painting the drives also. Is there anything in particular to watch out for?
     
  15. JeffTodd

    JeffTodd Stunt Coordinator

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    In reference to painting the CDRom and floppy drives: When I painted my case I removed the bezels from the CDRom and floopy. I removed the door cover from the CDRom as well as the button from the floppy. So I had several small plastic pieces. I rinsed them in a light detergent/water combo to remove any dirt from the plastic pieces. Then I just shot the pieces with paint. It all came out well I think for a first go at the whole deal. Hope that helps.
     
  16. Jeff Braddock

    Jeff Braddock Second Unit

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    thanks Jeff
     
  17. DougRogers

    DougRogers Stunt Coordinator

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    In addition to the other links provided, you might want to check out Arstechnica. I recommend users from there over here all the time so I figure I will recommend you to there. Here is a link to the case forum.
    Arstechnica
    Doug
     

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